Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Vayetze

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VaYetze --- And He Went Out Bereisheet/Genesis 28:10-32:3 Hoshea/Hosea 12:13-14:10 Yochanan/John 1:45-49

VaYetze, "And He Went Out," begins with Jacob (Ya'acov) leaving his family and going to the land of Haran (Charan) to find himself a wife among the daughters of his uncle, Laban. We find that he left his father's house in order to prevent Esau from committing murder as stated in Genesis 27:41. ( Esau intended to kill Jacob (Ya'acov) regarding the blessings), therefore, find that Jacob (Ya'acov) had in essence prevented a conflict by departing from his father's house.

Evidently Jacob (Ya'acov) had originally escaped his brother's wrath by going to the house of Shem and staying there until Esau had apparently forgotten the incident. But on his return Esau's wrath was rekindled and he was overheard by Rebecca to plot to kill him and so she arranges for him to go to Haran to take a wife. (Book of Jasher)

So Isaac summoned Jacob (Ya'acov) and blessed him; he instructed him, and said to him, 'Do not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take a wife from there from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. And may El Shaddai bless you, make you fruitful and make you numerous, and may you be a congregation of peoples. May He grant you the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may possess the land of your sojourns which God gave to Abraham" (Genesis 28:1-4).

Jacob Ya'acov) journeys as far as the foot of Mt. Moriah, the place of his father's offering and Yahweh meets with him and and reemphasizes His covenant that He made with Abraham and Isaac and now to Jacob in this same place (Gen.22). He says that the land where Jacob is presently residing will be given to him and to his seed or offspring. He promises that they will multiply as the dust of the Earth, and "spread out powerfully" in all directions on the face of the Earth, and that these descendants will bless the world. Yahweh promises to guard Jacob and his offspring and be with them wherever they may go as he exits the land of promise.

"And behold! Yahweh was standing over him, and He said, 'I am Yahweh, God of Abraham your father and God of Isaac; the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it and to your descendants. Your offspring shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward and southward; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and by your offspring. Behold, I am with you; I will guard you wherever you go, and I will return you to this soil; for I will not forsake you until I will have done what I have spoken about you.'" Bereisheet/Genesis 28:13-15

"Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely Yahweh is present in this place and I did not know!' And he became frightened and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of the heavens!' Jacob arose early in the morning and took the stone that he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar; and he poured oil on its top. And he named that place Beth-el; however, Luz was the city's name originally" (Bereisheet/Genesis 28:16-19).

Jacob also received a deeper understanding of God through his dream. Jacob awakens to proclaim that he now knew things that he did not earlier understand (Genesis 28:16). Jacob referred to the ladder as a "gate of heaven." This is considered an allusion to the Temple ("Bet El" = House of God - 28:18) and this is the place where the temple was erected later. Jacob is identifying this place as the gateway between heaven and earth, Yahweh's chosen place of covenant relationship with His people which was first established with Abraham. Yeshua referred to himself as a gate (or door) and proclaimed himself to be "greater than the Temple." He is the entrance to the heavenly sanctuary.

Jacob (Ya'acov) had his first, life-changing personal encounter with the Elohim of his fathers. What is his response? To serve Yahweh and to worship Him by giving him one-tenth (a tithe) of his increase. We need to faithfully use the firstfruits of our increase to honor, worship and express gratitude to Him.

Scripture calls not doing so 'robbing God' and that as a result a curse may be on our finances. Read Mal. 3:8-11.

Proverbs 3:9 lays out a solid truth about how tithing is a form of worshipping the Creator, "Honour [glorify] Yahweh with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine".

Jacob in Haran Jacob (Ya'acov) arrives in Haran, where he meets the daughters of Laban, Leah, the elder, and Rachel, the younger. Both Rabbinic tradition and the Book of Jasher state that Leah and Rachel were twins. We have a few sets of twins in this family line.

Scripture reveals the spiritual law of reciprocity: You reap what you sow (Gen. 8:22; Gal. 6:7-9). If you don't sow you will not reap. If you sow evil or good you will reap evil or good. Jacob had to learn this law the hard way. He gained the birthright through posing as Esau and Laban in turn deceives Jacob by putting Leah under the veil who poses as Rachel in Jacob¹s marriage bed. It is very easy to see the principle of reaping and sowing in others lives, but in our own? Very difficult! Don't we concoct every excuse and argument imaginable to justify our actions and then blame the results on others? Prayerfully take a long and hard look at your life, examine hardships and trials, and honestly ask yourself the question: am I reaping what I have sown? It is never too late to repent and make a correction to bring your life into agreement with Yahweh's Word and will and start reaping the blessings.

Jacob had come to Haran to find his mate. Rachel was that mate, and Jacob devoted seven years of hard physical toil to win the right to marry her. Living up to his reputation as a deceitful person, Laban substituted Leah for Rachel on the wedding night. We see that there is no hint of Jacob getting angry nor did he fight with Laban. Jacob did not want to marry two sisters but he accepted it in submission to Yahweh's workings in his life as indeed it was to bring forth the nation of twelve tribes. Afterwards, Laban offered Rachel in exchange for seven more years of hard work. Jacob accepted the deal, and the Midrash explains that Jacob worked the second set of years with the same loyalty and trustworthiness as he did in the first set of years.

All in a Day's Work "Any [animal] torn by wild beasts I have not brought to you, I bore the loss of it...whether stolen by day or stolen by night. I was there by day consumed by the heat and the frost at night, and my sleep was driven from my eyes" (Genesis 31:38-40)

During the twenty years Jacob (Ya'acov) was with Laban, he served him with the utmost loyalty. The worst weather did not cause him to desist from the watchful care of Laban's flock. he paid for every accidental loss, although he bore no responsibility to do so. His trustworthiness as custodian of Laban's flock was a remarkable exercise of virtue, and serves as a model for us to follow.

The greatness of Jacob lay in the fact that he did not deceive Laban even though Laban deceived him. Jacob still watched Laban's flock as if it were his own. If someone were to deceive one of us even in a small matter we would feel ourselves released from any obligation toward him. Not so out forefather Jacob. Despite all of Laban's deceptions, Jacob continued to guard Laban's sheep even beyond the call of duty.

The Lesson in Adversity Genesis 29:31-35 "Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved, so He opened her womb; but Rachel remained barren. Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, as she had declared, "Because Yahweh has discerned my humiliation, for now my husband will love me." And she conceived again and bore a son and declared, "Because Yahweh has heard that I am unloved, he has given me this one also," and she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived, and bore a son and declared, "This time my husband will become attached to me for I have borne him three sons"; therefore He called his name Levi. She conceived again, and bore a son and declared, "This time let me gratefully praise Yahweh"; therefore she called his name Judah; then she stopped giving birth.

The reason that Leah wanted to bear children was to try to get Jacob (Ya'acov) to love her. Remember that Jacob had been tricked by Laban into marrying Leah when it was Rachel that Jacob loved. In several attempts to get Jacob to love her, Leah bore him children. As we see from the Scripture above, each and every time she bore him sons, her comment after each one was that Yahweh had seen her situation and gave her a son in her circumstances. Yet the one thing that we do not see in the three instances mentioned is her thankfulness to Yahweh for being blessed with children. It was with the last son, Judah, that she finally expressed thankfulness to Yahweh and appropriately named her son Judah which means "Praise Yahweh."

Before this birth she had basically hoped that with each son she bore to Jacob he would love her but she did not express thanks to Yahweh for the blessings He had given to her, but was oriented to her own circumstances.

Do we make the same mistake of seeing our blessings in the light of our own purposes , instead of being thankful to Him for them? We need to have a thankful heart in all things. Colossians 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18 We need to stop worrying about life's problems and focus on the Source of the answer to life's problems, Yeshua!

In the end, it was Leah who became his companion and it was she who was buried with him as his partner in the spiritual hope of Israel at Hebron.

Ya'acov the Man When we are young we are idealistic, we would do anything for a cause and we are full of power, strength and grand ideals. But as we age, mature, and life takes its toll on us, idealism fades and is replaced with realism. We become more concerned with our lives and less concerned with conquering and changing the world. Ya’acov’s father was a wealthy man. We are told in Scripture that he had many flocks, camels, donkeys and servants and it seems his son Ya’acov had an easy, carefree, idealist childhood. He was the studious type spending considerable time with the patriarchs learning the ways of Yahweh.

Ya’acov’s youthful idealism of working fourteen years for the woman he loved and six years for the flocks he wanted, mellowed him into the realities of life. In his idealism, Ya’acov’s recounts to Lavan how hard and unselfishly he worked for him, building Lavan’s wealth and stature in the land. But now it was over! Ya’acov had enough of idealism, it was reality he was concerned with now; Lavan had deceived him and there was nothing for him back there in Charan any longer. The fearful Ya'acov who had left his mother and father twenty years earlier with his tail between his legs had matured into a determined man.

It was only after he matured; after his idealism had faded away that we read about Yahweh once again speaking and encouraging him regarding his calling. Yahweh sent Moshe into the back side of the desert to be a shepherd after living the life of a prince for the same reason and did not speak to him during those forty years either. It was only after they were broken, after they matured and lost their idealistic, lofty opinions of themselves, that He began speaking to them again. He can only work with and use vessels who are serious, seasoned, broken and matured!

Ya’acov was ready to be used by Yahweh; his time had come, reality had caught up with him! What comes around goes around, Ya’acov learned his lesson and he learned it the way we all have to learn our lessons, the hard way! He was matured into a usable vessel and he was ready to be used by God.

The Return to Caanan "And Yahweh said to Ya'acov, 'Return to the land of your fathers and to your native land, and I will be with you'" Genesis 31:3). Again, Yahweh in His mercy to Ya'acov indicates "He will be with him."

After his twenty years of laboring in Paddan-Haran, he makes an abrupt departure from Laban as he begins his return to the land of his fathers. After seven days of journey, Laban and his cohorts finally catch up with Ya'acov and his family. It was told to Laban on the third day that Ya'acov had fled. So he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days, catching up with him on Mount Gilead" (Bereisheet/Genesis 31:22-23).

Laban raises the issue of the teraphim which had been stolen. The little gods were images that signified deeds of trust on the possessions of the holder. The belief was that these images had supernatural power to protect the things they were signifying. While the idols were a form of idol worship it is important to note the value of the images, in that day. Notice the context in Gen. 31:14-16. Rachel was complaining about not receiving any inheritance from her father so, she stole the very things that signified ownership of the inheritance. Rachel hid the images and her father and Ya'acov make a covenant. Genesis 31:44-46).

Ya'acov is memorializing this place on earth, with this pillar of demarcation between him and his father-in-law Laban.

Laban promises not to pass by the heap or pillar "for harm" in exchange for Ya'acov promising the same thing. And then it appears that Laban invokes the witness and judgment of the God of Abraham, Nahor and their father Terah between them. Then it is stated that Ya'acov swears by the "Dread of his father Isaac." He made a solemn oath or vow with Laban. Then after the covenant is agreed to by Laban and Ya'acov, "Ya'acov offers a sacrifice" on the mountain. Interestingly, this is the first time that it is recorded that Ya'acov offers a sacrifice. Here at a relatively perilous moment in his encounter with Laban, you can begin to see the transformation that is taking place in Ya'acov. Ya'acov is growing in his understanding of just who the Creator is and how He indeed factors into the affairs of mankind. By invoking the witness and judgment of the God of Abraham and Isaac into the covenant, Ya'acov is admitting that He is a part of the covenant. Then by sealing the covenant by offering up sacrifices, he is resorting to the old patterns that he had witnessed as a child and young man growing up in the tents of Abraham and Isaac.

Two Camps: The Natural and the Spiritual As you read the story and follow the sequence of events, you can sense that Ya'acov is definitely being prepared for even greater dependency upon the Almighty. Now that he has successfully handled the situation with his father-in-law, the two parties depart in their separate directions. Genesis 31:55-32:2

Here, on a tributary to the Jabbok River that eventually will take his divided company to the Jordan River and back to the Land of Promise, Ya'acov has an extraordinary encounter with angels reappearing to him after twenty years. He has set up a pillar to demarcate the spot where he and Laban have made their peace and called upon the name of the God of Abraham and Isaac to witness and judge the covenant. Then he has even followed their example and offered up sacrifices to consummate the covenant. Ya'acov could have named the spot where all of this occurred, 'God's camp', and yet he names it "Two Camps".

Ya'acov has been seasoned in the ways of Yahweh and his visitation by the angels marked the end of an era of struggling with his fleshy nature and the call on his life to be spiritual and have faith and trust in the God of his fathers. In the visitation of the angels he sees that with his 'camp' in the natural is the overshadowing of the spiritual 'camp' of the Almighty in which he can trust.

Yahweh has so worked in Ya'acov's life to bring him to an understanding of the futility of seeking one's own way and he has come to a place where he is ready to put an end to the strivings of his flesh and trust the God of his fathers Who has fulfilled all that He promised him and brought him back to the land of his inheritance.